Citation for Minister Gan Kim Yong

Lee Yik Voon

The SMA Honorary Membership is the highest honour that the Association confers to individuals who have made significant contributions to the medical profession or to the nation. It is a great privilege and honour for me to read the citation for Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, who is the Honorary Member elected into the SMA this year.

Mr Gan's career began with the Administrative Service with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs, in 1985. He left the civil service in 1989 for the private sector before joining politics in 2001, when he was then elected as Member of Parliament. Mr Gan subsequently became Minister of State for Education and Minister of State for Manpower in 2005. During his tenure as Minister for Manpower from 2008 to 2011, Mr Gan recognised and launched initiatives that reflected the importance of enhancing productivity among Singapore's most valued resource, our workforce, to remain relevant in today's competitive global market.

Mr Gan was appointed as the Minister for Health in 2011. He has since been focusing on definite measures towards the actualisation of the Healthcare Masterplan 2020 – the Government's strategy to ensure accessibility, quality and affordability of healthcare. Mr Gan has emphasised the importance for all parties involved in providing good and affordable healthcare for Singaporeans, including medical practitioners, allied health professionals, professional bodies like SMA, and medical health insurers, to work together in building a sustainable healthcare system for our future.

Many public initiatives such as the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) and MediShield Life have been launched over the last eight years under Mr Gan's watch, in hopes of increasing Singaporeans' healthcare coverage and offering them a greater peace of mind. We are also heartened that Mr Gan and the Ministry have echoed SMA's all-time belief that fee guidelines are crucial for healthcare costs to be better managed across the industry, which would be for the benefit and welfare of our patients.

Under Mr Gan's leadership, the Ministry of Health has revisited the organisational structure of our healthcare clusters as well as reinforced hospital and community healthcare infrastructure over the years, with resources being dedicated to ensure that primary care is readily available to Singaporeans. Polyclinics and community hospitals have been built and are continually being developed to support the Singapore population, while private GPs are working closer with each other to offer subsidised team-based care in the community through the Primary Care Networks.

With the belief that Singaporeans should take ownership of our health, Mr Gan has been helming the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA), which spearheads Singapore's promotion of healthy living for its ageing population. The MCA explores matters such as active ageing and employability, aged care infrastructure, quality aged care and manpower development, so that Singaporeans would enjoy quality care more efficiently and effectively. Since 2016, Mr Gan has been focusing on the threats that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes pose for Singapore through a nationwide campaign: the War on Diabetes. Mr Gan would be translating his knowledge and expertise towards an international stage with his appointment to the World Health Organization's Independent High-Level Commission on Non-communicable Diseases in his personal capacity.

Mr Gan is a great leader with foresight who has played a major role in the transformation of our healthcare ecosystem to meet the nation's ever-changing needs. It is because of the support and vision of leaders such as Mr Gan that all industry partners, including SMA, would be able to collaborate and build a dynamic and resilient healthcare system for current and future generations of Singaporeans.

Fellow SMA Members, guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour to present to you, SMA Honorary Member, Mr Gan Kim Yong.